South Africa: Police attack workers at World Cup

June 18, 2010

Many Australian football fans left Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium early on June 13 following Australia’s particularly dismal four-nil loss against Germany. Had they remained they would have witnessed scenes more dramatic than any that had unfolded on the field, when police violently attacked 500 stewards striking over a pay dispute.

A memorandum of grievances by Durban civil society organisations against “the way the World Cup has been implemented by FIFA, its corporate partners, politicians and bureaucrats” described the clashes as evidence that “outsourcing of casualised labour has become a full-fledged crisis”. The stewards are employed by subcontractor Stallion Security.

The memorandum cited “the excessive force — stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets — used to subdue non-violent Stallion Security workers protesting at Moses Mabhida Stadium” as evidence of police brutality surrounding the World Cup.

The Guardian reported on June 16 that the strike had spread to other stadiums in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town and to the International Broadcast Centre.

On June 16, 800 people marched through Durban protesting the abuses of workers’ rights and other abuses associated with the World Cup. For more information visit

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